Georgia Art Teacher Certification and Job Requirements

The Georgia Professional Standards Commission was created by the Georgia General Assembly on July 1, 1991, to assume full responsibility for the preparation, certification, and professional conduct of certified teachers in the state. To become an art teacher in Georgia, follow these steps:

Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program
Complete Testing
Apply for a Certificate/License
Maintain and Upgrade Your License
Pursue Graduate Work



Step 1. Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program

The first step to becoming an art teacher in Georgia is usually to complete a bachelor’s degree and teacher prep program at a state-approved school. The Georgia Professional Standards Commission recognizes only those colleges and universities that have attained accreditation from specific, GaPSC-accepted accreditation agencies. These agencies are The Council for Higher Education Accreditation and US Department of Education. A variety of out-of-state programs may be eligible, and you can check eligibility by following the instructions here.

A list of approved educator prep programs within Georgia, all of which have been cleared to lead to Georgia teacher certificate, is listed here, although recent rule changes mean the list may be incomplete. 11 schools currently offer arts education program at the bachelors’ degree levels. Programs for all teachers must include student teaching, field experiences, or an education practicum.

You can also complete an initial educator preparation program at the post-baccalaureate and master’s degree levels or through a variety of alternative routes, all of which are detailed at the Georgia Professional Standards Commission website. If you already hold a bachelor’s degree, you may want to pursue a master’s degree while you complete a teacher prep program. Most initial certification programs at this level lead to Master of Arts in Teaching, although some may lead to a Master of Education or a Master of Arts.

Teacher prep classes in the visual arts will vary by schools, but generally engage students in traditional and contemporary art-making processes, including studio time; survey the history of art and help foster respect for various art forms and the contexts in which they are made; and introduce students to an array of historical and contemporary artists. They also focus on the theories and techniques of art education.



Step 2. Complete Testing

Prospective art teachers who completed a traditional, state-approved teacher prep program in Georgia must pass the following tests:

  • The GACE Program Admission Assessment, or have an exemption. (An exemption must be documented by an official transcript reflecting an advanced degree or a copy of an official score report for an eligible exam.)
  • Induction level or higher passing score on the appropriate GACE content assessment.
  • As of January 1, 2015, a passing score on the Georgia Educator Ethics Assessment.
  • As of September 1, 2015, a passing score on edTPA, the GaPSC-approved content pedagogy assessment.

Details on the computer-delivered GACE Program Admission Assessment are as follows:

  • Tests name: Question Types, Testing Time, and Test Duration
  • Test I – Reading: single-response, 85 mins., 2 hrs.
  • Test II – Mathematics: single-response, 85 mins., 2 hrs.
  • Test III – Writing: single-response, constructed response, 100 mins., 2 hrs.
  • Combined Test I, II, and III: single-response, constructed response,4.5 hrs, 5 hrs.

The content assessment tests for Arts Education includes two single-response tests, with a total test time of four hours and total duration of five hours

Detailed information on the Georgia Educator Ethics assessment and content pedagogy assessment was not yet available at the time of writing, but prospective students should check the GACE website.



Step 3. Apply for Your License

The first teaching license to apply for is the Induction Certificate, which generally lasts for three years and is not renewable.You must be employed by a Georgia local unit of administration (LUA) at the time that you apply for your first Georgia certificate to be eligible for full certification. However, if you meet all the requirements except for employment, you will be issued a Certificate of Eligibility, which may be converted to an educator certificate upon employment.

If you have completed a traditional educator preparation program in Georgia, the following requirements apply:

  • Completion of a GaPSC-approved educator preparation program, with documentation submitted electronically to the GaPSC
  • Passing score on the GACE Program Admission Assessment, or exemption.
  • Induction level or higher passing score on the appropriate GACE content assessment (see above).
  • As of January 1, 2015, a passing score on the Georgia Educator Ethics Assessment.
  • As of September 1, 2015, a passing score on edTPA, the GaPSC-approved content pedagogy assessment.
  • Completion of a course in identifying and educating exceptional children.

The relevant teaching field for art teachers to include on their application is Art (Grade P-12). To apply for an Induction Certificate, submit the following to the GAPSC:

  • Application for Certification
  • Verification of Lawful Presence Documentation (notarized)
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities you have attended, which must include documentation of a course on identifying and educating exceptional children
  • Employer Assurance Form
  • Documentation of test scores above

More information on application procedures can be found here.



Step 4. Maintain and Upgrade Your Certificate

The next certification level to apply for is the Professional Certificate. In order to convert your Induction certificate to a Professional certificate, you must complete the requirements outlined in the correspondence issued with your Induction certificate. The documents you need to submit with your application for conversion are also included in that correspondence.

A taskforce of education stakeholders is currently working to revise the standard renewal requirements for Professional Certificates. Changes will be announced on the GAPSC website, although initial requirements are outlined here.

Beyond the Professional Certificate, you may apply for the following certificates:

  • Performance-Based Professional Certificate
  • Advanced Professional Certificate
  • Lead Professional Certificate.

The Performance-Based Professional teaching certificate is issued to employed teachers evaluated by the statewide Teacher Keys Effectiveness System (TKES). Detailed rules apply, see the GAPSC here. Information on converting Standard Professional to Performance-Based Professional certificates is here. The Advanced Professional Certificate and Lead Professional Certificate are not yet available, but will be forthcoming.

Other forms of advanced certification for Georgia art teachers are the Georgia Master Teachers Program and National Board Certification. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is a yearlong process that assesses accomplished teaching. To qualify, the teacher must have a college degree and three years of teaching experience, pay the $65 non-refundable processing fee and the $2500 assessment fee. The process consists of 4 portfolio entries and 6 assessment center activities. Salary increases for board-certified teachers are often available.



Step 5. Pursue Graduate Work

Graduate work in qualifying advanced degree programs may be used to upgrade the level of your Induction or Professional certificates. Eight schools in Georgia are currently approved to offers Masters, Specialist, or Doctorate degrees in Art Education, a list is available here. Salary upgrades with advanced degrees are a possibility.

In-field advanced degree programs within the arts are intended to advance and enhance existing knowledge and skills in the field. Detailed rules apply, including the following:

  • The educator must hold the certificate field before enrolling in the advanced degree program;
  • The certificate field must be one that is currently offered by the GaPSC.
  • If the certificate field in which the educator completes an advanced degree is not a leadership field, the resulting level upgrade will apply to all fields held.
  • The advanced degree program used for an in-field upgrade may not be one that leads to initial certification.

You may use the GaPSC Certificate Upgrade Advisor to identify degree majors that are considered “closely related” to your certificate fields. A login is required.

Advanced degree programs for in-field upgrades may be completed in Georgia or any other U.S. state. Georgia colleges/universities offering advanced degrees leading to in-field upgrades must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • The institution’s professional education unit (department/school/college of education) must be approved by the GaPSC at the time the individual is admitted to the program; or
  • The institution must hold a Carnegie Classification of Research University-Very High Research Activity (RU/VH) or Research University-High Research Activity (RU/H) at the time the individual is admitted to the program. For more information on the Carnegie Classification system, click here.

Out-of-state colleges/universities offering advanced degrees leading to in-field upgrades must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • The institution must be accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) or the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) at the time the individual is admitted to the program; or
  • The institution must hold a Carnegie Classification of Research University-Very High Research Activity (RU/VH) or Research University-High Research Activity (RU/H) at the time the individual is admitted to the program.

Further clarification regarding certification levels assigned to various degrees and majors is available in Certification Rule 505-2-.02.


Georgia Art Teacher Salaries

According to the National Education Association, the average starting salary for teachers in Georgia (as of the 2012-2013 school year) is $33,664, slightly lower than the national average of $36,141

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for an elementary teacher in Georgia as of May 2013 was $53,750. The average salary for a middle school teacher was $53,410, while the average salary for a high school teacher was slightly higher at $ $54,750. The BLS does not provide data on art teacher salaries as a separate unit, but tracks salaries for elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers as a whole.

However, teacher salaries can vary significantly by location. A sample of the median salaries and employment figures as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for some major cities and related areas appears below (note that not all areas track salaries for all locations):

Occupation Title EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary

Athens-Clarke County, GA

Elementary School Teachers920$52,670
Secondary School Teachers490$52,630


Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA
Elementary School Teachers25,880$54,430
Middle School Teachers12,720$54,500
Secondary School Teachers12,980$56,270


Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC
Elementary School Teachers2,240$51,280
Middle School Teachers1,860$51,500
Secondary School Teachers970$48,750


Columbus, GA-AL
Elementary School Teachers1,810$49,540
Secondary School TeachersEstimate not released$54,120


Gainesville, GA
Elementary School TeachersEstimate not released$54,030
Middle School TeachersEstimate not released$50,110
Secondary School Teachers720$56,780


Macon, GA
Elementary School Teachers470$50,450
Middle School TeachersEstimate not released$47,940
Secondary School Teachers300$48,540


Rome, GA
Elementary School Teachers430$56,120


Savannah, GA
Elementary School Teachers1,400$54,670
Middle School Teachers680$54,490


For fiscal year 2014, the state’s education department has set a base salary of $33,424, although teachers can make as much as $72,530.00 after teaching for more than two decades. A detailed breakdown of the salary schedule for 2014 appears here.

Information on postsecondary art teacher salaries throughout Georgia can be found in the following table provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Area Name
Annual Median Salary
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta GA
Augusta-Richmond County GA-SC
Chattanooga TN-GA
Macon GA
Estimate Not Released
North Georgia nonmetropolitan area
East Georgia nonmetropolitan area

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